For BYU guard Rashaun Broadus, almost every game offers a new experience.
The junior college transfer has recently gone through his first Division I game, his first Division I road game and his first in-state game. Tonight at 7, he'll experience yet another first as the Cougars take on Lamar at the Delta Center.
"I've never played in an NBA arena before," he said with a broad smile. "I'm excited about that."
Broadus, who transferred from Western Nebraska Community College, has given the Cougars something to be excited about, too. He has started the past two games at point guard and in last Saturday's victory over Southern Utah he scored 11 points, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and dished out three assists.
BYU has won two straight games after falling in its season-opener to Loyola Marymount.
This marks the third straight season the Cougars have played at the Delta Center, including a 2003 victory over Oklahoma State and a 2004 loss to Washington State.
"It's a good experience that prepares you for a lot of things in the future," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "A lot of NCAA Tournament games are played in NBA arenas. It's always an exciting game."
This game was originally scheduled for Dec. 20 at the Marriott Center. However, when Hurricane Rita hit Beaumont, Texas, Lamar was forced to reschedule its fall academic calendar, placing the school's final exams on Dec. 20. Over a period of several weeks, the two schools worked together to find a date and a venue in which to play the contest rather than cancel it.
Christmas programs are scheduled at the Marriott Center this week, making that facility unavailable this week.
While BYU and Lamar have never met on the basketball court, the Cougars have faced Cardinal coach Billy Tubbs before.
Tubbs, who's in his seventh season at Lamar, has averaged nearly 21 wins each year in his 30 years as a head coach at Oklahoma, TCU and Lamar.
In 1992, BYU upset the Tubbs-led, No. 9 Sooners, 76-75, in the Maui Invitational when Kevin Nixon grabbed a long rebound and hit a 15-foot jump shot with three seconds remaining.
During his 14-year tenure at Oklahoma, Tubbs took the Sooners to nine NCAA Tournaments, including the 1988 championship game. He later coached at TCU, which was a member, along with BYU, of the Western Athletic Conference.
Tubbs has won 66 percent of his games while compiling 625-329 record. Last year, he became only the eighth coach in NCAA history to record 100 wins at three different schools (Oklahoma 333, TCU 156, Lamar 104). He is the 28th coach in NCAA history to notch 600 or more career victories.
The Cardinals are off to a 1-3 start, including a loss at No. 9 Memphis on Monday night. In that contest, senior forward Alan Daniels tallied a career-high 41 points against the Tigers. Daniels leads the team in scoring with a 24.3 average.
"They're a very athletic team that starts four seniors and has a lot of players back this year," Rose said. "They like to go up and down the floor a lot. They like to shoot and get to the offensive glass, so we're going to have to do a better job on the boards. They like to extend pressure so we'll have to handle the press and take care of the ball better to prevent turnovers. I think if we do those things, it's going to be a good game."
Lamar opened the season with losses to Southern Miss and Kennesaw State (which is coached by former BYU assistant Tony Ingle) at the Top of the World Classic in Alaska. The Cardinals' lone win came in their final contest at the Top of the World Classic, a 92-82 victory over Montana State.
CHARITY FUND-RAISER: BYU is joining the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer. This is the seventh year that the Cougars have participated in the program.
Donations will be taken at the Delta Center tonight. Foundation volunteers will be located at the entrances prior to the game to collect money and they will be set up at the exits following the game. All of the money donated to the Foundation will go towards the annual Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in
"This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," Rose said. "It has been such a positive experience."
Cougars on the air
Lamar (1-3) vs. BYU (2-1)
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Radio: 1160 AM